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Start Leon. We may have time to visit the city's beautiful gothic cathedral and stroll around its charming winding narrow streets.
Ride across the plains of Castille through countryside and quaint villages to Astorga.
We head into the countryside riding across the plains of Castilla through cultivated countryside and quaint villages, with adobe houses and wine caves. We will take lunch in Hospital del Orbigo and on entering the village we cross a stunning mediaeval bridge (one of the longest pilgrimage bridges in Spain). We then ride the final 15km to the beautiful walled town of Astorga, with views of the mountains of Leon in the distance.
Climb into the mountains of Leon to the Monte de la Cruz de Ferro; descend to Molinaseca.
Today's ride is the most beautiful of the trip as we leave the Castillan plains behind and climb gradually into the mountains of Leon to the Monte de la Cruz de Ferro (1505m). En route we pass through Castrillo de los Polvazares, known for its very special architecture created by strong orange coloured stone. After riding through the charming mountain village of Acebo (the main street is a straight line of beautiful balconied houses) we enjoy the rest of our descent into Molinaseca, with stunning views of the surrounding valley.
Ride to Villafranca with views across the valleys of Galicia and mountains of Leon. Long ascent to the village of O'Cebreiro.
The highlight today is the ride to the beautiful town of Villafranca with stunning views across the green valleys of Galicia and wooded mountains of Leon. After the first easy and mainly flat 25km we have a short climb to Villafranca, which is worth a look for its many monuments and picturesque town square. Once we reach the bottom of the valley on the foothills of Monte de O'Cebreiro we will have a rest before our final push to the top of the mountain and the small village of O'Cebreiro. Here we will be able to appreciate wonderful views of the valleys that surround this peak and admire the charming slate roofed black houses. Due to the limited accommodation capacity in O'Cebreiro, on certain departures we may have to stay in the village of Herrerias and cycle up to O'Cebreiro in the morning of Day 5.
Enter Galicia's landscape of traditional agricultural villages; cycle past Samos monastery on the way to Sarria.
As we enter Galicia the landscape changes dramatically and the area is populated by a number of traditional agricultural villages. Each family has small plots of land, which they cultivate for their own vegetables and we will pass by many of the locals working the land and tending to their cattle. As well as a change in culture, landscape and language, the gastronomy of Galicia is famous for using products of high quality and preparing them in simple and not elaborate, but delicious ways. We have lunch in Samos, home to one of the oldest monasteries in Spain, and cycle through chestnut forests to Sarria. PREMIUM DEPARTURES: we end the day in Portomarin.
Cycle along tree-lined paths to Portomarin, rebuilt on a hilltop in the 1950s in order to construct a reservoir; continue to Palas de Rei.
Today's ride runs through beautiful rural Galician countryside and along tree-lined paths to the town of Portomarin, which was rebuilt on a hilltop in the 1950s in order to construct a reservoir. After lunch, a 13km climb, followed by a welcome 12km downhill, takes us to Palas de Rei, a small town full of the pilgrim spirit. PREMIUM DEPARTURES: we end the day near Arzúa.
Short ascents and descents to Monte de Gozo; follow the pilgrims' route to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Our final day involves a number of short ascents and descents as far as Monte de Gozo. From here, as pilgrims have done for centuries, we wind our way through the city's streets and crowds to Plaza del Obradoiro, dominated by the impressive Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. We then move onto the Pilgrim's Office for those who wish to obtain the 'compostela' (certificate of accomplishment).
End Santiago de Compostela.
End Santiago de Compostela.